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Arcade bar NQ64 secures £2.5m to expand

Retro arcade bar NQ64 has received a £2.5 million (US$2.96m) injection from SME funding firm Thin Cats to aid its expansion across the UK.

NQ64 offers nostalgic video games with classic arcades and consoles, sourced from across the globe

Founded in 2019 by Andy Haygarth and Matt Robson, NQ64’s original site was located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

The company has since expanded to own nine retro gaming bars across the UK, five of which have opened in the last 18 months thanks to backing from specialist lifestyle and entertainment investor Imbiba.

Haygarth commented: “We have a great team that has enabled us to open the first nine NQ64s in a relatively short time. “We are really excited about the next phase of growth.

“With the backing of Imbiba and our new partnership with Thin Cats, we are looking forward to bringing our neon-splattered drinking dens to a host of new guests.

“We generally now invest between £500,000 (US$591,142) and £1m (US$1.18m) into the build of a new site.”

The concept combines arcade games and classic consoles with a drinks list of specially selected craft beers, themed cocktails and sodas.

The additional funding from Thin Cats will allow the company to target new locations in Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, Nottingham, Reading, Belfast, Sheffield, Aberdeen and Brighton, as well as further London sites following an opening in Soho earlier this year.

Mike Dinnell, Thin Cats director of business development, said: “It is fantastic to be involved with a business like NQ64 who clearly have a strategy to grow their brand across the UK.

“NQ64 is a bar where classic console games and great cocktails find perfect harmony across a range of age groups.  The quality of the management team in place really underpins the growth plan we are supporting.”

The company is on the hunt for new venues between 4,000 and 10,000 square feet.

The NQ64 venues can trade in ground, basement or first floor locations and are known to pay an appropriate premium for late licensed sites in prime locations.

Andrew Stones, partner at Imbiba, added: “Andy and Matt have built a really interesting and unique concept, and we are seeing plenty of great opportunities to expand their footprint throughout the UK. It’s great to be supporting such an awesome young business on this journey.”

Earlier this month, The Cocktail Club owner Nightcap secured a £10m (US$12.1m) investment to pursue its expansion targets.

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